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    Metabolic Syndrome Criteria & Risk Factors

    If you're one of the 34 percent of American adults who has metabolic syndrome, you're at risk for developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. You may even be at risk for certain cancers. That's why it's important to understand metabolic syndrome criteria. According to the American Heart Association, metabolic syndrome occurs when a person has at least three of these five metabolic risk factors:

    Metabolic FactorRisk Range
    Abdominal Obesity

    Waist circumference

    • Men: 40 inches or more
    • Women: 35 inches or more

    150 mg/dL or higher, or taking medication to treat high triglycerides

    HDL Cholesterol
    • Men: Less than 40 mg/dL, or taking medication to improve HDL
    • Women: Less than 50 mg/dL, or taking medication to improve HDL
    Blood Pressure

    130/85 mm Hg or higher, or taking medication to treat high blood pressure

    Fasting Blood Sugar

    100 mg/dL or higher, or taking medication to treat high blood sugar

    According to these metabolic syndrome criteria, you're more likely to have the condition if you are obese, physically inactive, or have inherited a tendency toward metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is also more likely if you have an insulin resistance. That's when your body doesn't respond as it should to insulin, a hormone essential for regulating blood sugar.

    The prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome start with making healthy eating choices and getting enough physical activity to achieve a healthier weight.

    For more information on metabolic syndrome criteria, go to the American Heart Association's website at www.heart.org, and talk with your healthcare professional.

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